Tuesday, March 10, 2009

High Adventure

Being unemployed has taught me a lot of things.

1) It's far too easy to apply for jobs.

At the end of my dedicated 8 hour days I look back through my Sent file and see I've placed maybe 50 resumes that day. Now I'm careful and read every description I come across and think about cover letters and am attempting to do a thorough search. What I've seen in people's responses and what I've been told at interviews is that people are literally buried under 100s and 100s of resumes for a single Craigslist position, just after 24 hours and about 90% of them might as well be written in crayon. It complicates everyone's life that it takes 3 seconds to shoot off a resume from Craigslist or Careerbuilder. If it was more of an effort I think it would bode easier for everyone.

2) There are a large number of very dim people in the world.

WHO are applying for these jobs? I was interviewing for an Office Manager position and they brought me in for a "computer test". I thought I was going to have to build a database, write a program or put a power point together so I was kind of nervous but I was ready. I got there and the girl placed her business card in front of me with her info and a post it with the name of an elementary school.

The test (I am so NOT kidding) consisted of:
1 - opening Outlook
2 - sending an email
3 - opening Explorer
4 - logging onto the company's website
5 - creating a list
6 - putting items on the list
and the kicker
7 - looking up the Elementary School's phone number via search engine
8 - and making sure it was in LAUSD

about half way through logging on to their website I was suppressing the need to giggle and had to shove down the snarky desire to ask if I could do this from my phone instead. In my sleep. With gardening gloves on.

Then I've interviewed at a number of other places where they tell me in the verification phone calls to "dress business professional, bring a copy of your resume and no sandals or jeans please". No sandals or jeans. PEOPLE!!! This is a job interview. Nothing short of an attack of the Nocturnal Clothes Eating Monster, an appointment before the mall opens and a world wide paper shortage would cause me to show up in jeans and sandals without a resume for a JOB INTERVIEW! Why is this necessary? What kind of idiots are applying for these jobs?

Send me an email??! I'm still baffled by it.

3) There are a lot of gawkers on the 57.

I've been down to Orange County about 3x a week for the last 3 weeks so me and the 57 have been getting cozy again. However, I don't remember the strange amount of people who pace your car and try to talk to you in traffic, ask for your phone number or just stare. Now, I've had this happen to me before but just once or twice and it was on the 101 which is freak central anyway, and the 210 after church, which was just funny. From a car viewpoint I'm a knock out, I'll admit it. I've got red hair and a great rack. What more can a commuter want for eye candy? But seriously people, I'm a stressed out unemployed college grad. I don't want to deal with the distracted male driving an audaciously large truck right next to me at high speeds. Focus people.

4) Receptionists need to read For the Strength of Youth

I don't need to see your naughty pillows coming and going nor do I want to. You're sitting down at a desk all day with people coming up to you that are standing. They have what is scientifically termed the "bird's eye view". If you look down and see something your mom wouldn't approve of then so can ALL of us and if that's the kind operation you're running you should mention that in your job description "self respect desired but not required".

5) Job Hunting is just an endless bunch of awkward. Not the entertaining kind, oh no. It's the blind date, slightly humiliating kind.

Sitting in a waiting room with 3 other people that you know are interviewing for the same job and are just as worked up as you and its taking forever and you think about striking up a conversation but you know you're just getting sized up and they look more terrified than bored so you decide not to - awkward
Talking about yourself and telling your story over and over - awkward
Not knowing who will be interviewing you and where they're coming from - awkward
The same strange dusty silk plants and ficus trees in every waiting room you go that are sometimes poking you in the face and make you have to sneeze through your whole interview - awkward. Freaky even

6) Interviews are either a Recruiter's favorite thing or least favorite thing.

I've been in 45 min interviews with men who look like a Muppet (including mannerisms) that are in love with the sound of their own voice and ask every. single. obscure question or personality assessment tell they can think of "Describe to me you're ideal day, environment, problem, and how you'd solve it and what color the walls might be and what animal would be there?" I've also been in 5 min interviews consisting of 5 questions that were answered by my resume sitting right in front of them that they spent the majority of that 5 minutes studying in silence.

7) Some recruiters have a God complex.

For kicks and giggles I was sniffing around the Phoenix Craigslist and opened up this ad looking for a Personal Assistant for a Scottsdale Marketing firm. It literally made me shake my head and want to go hug my mother. Make the bad man go away!

8) When putting an office environment together a Fung Shui type should be consulted or some kind of professional.

Purple is not a color that should ever be make up file cabinets, light fixtures or desktops.
Wallpaper does not belong on the ceiling.
6th grade science project boards is not the best way to introduce people to your company.
Yellow paint doesn't make people feel better, it makes them wonder what you're hiding, especially if you're a guy.
Swap meets or auctions from dismantled hotels are not the best places to go art shopping.

The funniest thing is I'm still in the thick of it. I cannot wait till this episode is over and I'm back to work, wherever that may be. I'm not sure how many more of these interviews I can weather before I just get up on the desk and Riverdance my way into the heart of those around me.

Pray for me people.

Oh - and I told him the walls would be pink with white trim.


Nicole said...

"had to shove down the snarky desire to ask if I could do this from my phone instead. In my sleep. With gardening gloves on."

Liz...this is one of your most brilliant posts ever. I hate to be laughing at your misfortunte...but dang girl! YOU are a GREAT writer!

I'm keeping my eye out for Emory postings, because I'm pretty much sold on staying here my whole career (as long as the campus can be transplanted onto California soil) It's seriously that awesome in my department.

Rachel said...

I can tell you exactly why you had to take that computer test. Because 50% of people who apply for jobs wouldn't be able to pass it. Seriously. We use those tests to thin the herd. When I'm recruiting I will send the application prior to the interview with a link for them to take a typing test. It is all very simple and straightforward. So if they call saying that they're having a problem figuring something out I know that they won't cut it. It's an easy way to get rid of the dumb ones. And believe me, there are a lot to get rid of.